Manufacturers are working hard to create apprenticeship and workforce development programs that can help strengthen our industry, close the skills gap and prepare new workers for exciting, fulfilling careers.
Last week, Leah Curry, president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana, urged Congress to take up these priorities when she testified to the Senate Subcommittee on Employment and Workforce Safety. Curry is also an honoree of The Manufacturing Institute’s 2013 STEP Ahead Awards, which recognizes outstanding women leaders in the industry, and a longstanding member of the MI Board of Advisors.
In her remarks, Curry drew on her own experiences to illustrate how apprenticeship programs can help prepare workers to take on a new career. Here are some of the highlights.
Delivering early exposure: “I came across the idea of pursuing technology as a career by chance after already embarking on a serious course of post‐secondary studies. If I was exposed to technical or STEM programs before college, I would have landed on my pathway much [sooner]. Since 2010, Toyota has provided $3.5 million to 184 K–12 schools in Indiana and across the country to implement Project Lead the Way programs that provide students with more STEM education and career pathways.”
Emphasizing hands-on experience: “Combining classroom learning with on‐the‐job experiences is a powerful way to learn, particularly in manufacturing. In states where Toyota operates manufacturing plants, Toyota has collaborated with local community colleges to develop the highly successful advanced manufacturing technician (or AMT) program.”
- “Nationally about 400 employers pool talent from 32 chapters in 12 states in what is known collectively as the Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education or FAME USA. FAME USA is now led by The Manufacturing Institute, and it is quickly becoming America’s premier homegrown manufacturing education network.”
Promoting diversity: “We cannot overstate the importance of intentionality around bringing historically underrepresented people into STEM careers. Toyota is collaborating with the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity on its ‘Make the Future’ program, which provides tools to help educators, counselors, administrators and recruiters increase the participation and persistence of women and other historically underrepresented student groups in education paths that prepare them for advanced manufacturing careers.”
The path forward: In her testimony, Curry emphasized two critical policy recommendations.
- Combine education and training: First, Curry urged Congress to consider workforce development policies in combination with education policies. “If education policies are not flexible enough to allow students to explore various pathways,” said Curry, “students may ultimately bypass even the best workforce development opportunities.”
- Reauthorize WIOA: Second, she called for reauthorization of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. “In doing so, the committee should continue to allow for greater private-sector participation in the workforce system,” said Curry. “The FAME USA system proves that employers want to and can drive workforce development to new heights.”
Learn more: Click here to find out more about the FAME USA program, founded by Toyota and now operated by the MI.
Washington, D.C. – Ahead of the midterm elections, the National Association of Manufacturers released its policy roadmap, “Competing to Win,” a comprehensive blueprint featuring immediate solutions for bolstering manufacturers’ competitiveness. It is also a roadmap for policymakers on the laws and regulations needed to strengthen the manufacturing industry in the months and years ahead.
With the country facing rising prices, snarled supply chains and geopolitical turmoil, manufacturers are outlining an actionable competitiveness agenda that Americans across the political spectrum can support. “Competing to Win” includes the policies manufacturers in America will need in place to continue driving the country forward.
“‘Competing to Win’ offers a path for bringing our country together around policies, shared values and a unified purpose,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “The NAM is putting forward a plan filled with ideas that policymakers could pursue immediately, including solutions to urgent problems, such as energy security, immigration reform, supply chain disruptions, the ongoing workforce shortage and more. Manufacturers have shown incredible resilience through difficult times, employing more workers now than before the pandemic, but continued resilience is not guaranteed without the policies that are critical to the state of manufacturing in America.”
The NAM and its members will leverage “Competing to Win” to shape policy debates ahead of the midterm elections, in the remainder of the 117th Congress and at the start of the 118th Congress—including in direct engagement with lawmakers, for grassroots activity, across traditional and digital media and through events in key states and districts as we did following the initial rollout of the roadmap in 2016.
The document focuses on 12 areas of action, and all policies are rooted in the values that have made America exceptional and keep manufacturing strong: free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity.
Learn more about how manufacturers are leading and about the industry’s competitiveness agenda at nam.org/competing-to-win.
The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.8 million men and women, contributes $2.77 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 58% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org